Obscuring Corporate Violence: corporate manslaughter in action

Hebert, Jasmine; Bittle, Steve and Tombs, Steve (2019). Obscuring Corporate Violence: corporate manslaughter in action. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 58(4) pp. 554–579.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/hojo.12345


In April 2008, the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (CMCHAct) 2007 came into force in the UK. Since then, the Act has failed to live up to expectations, resulting in only 26 convictions in the first decade of its existence, despite thousands of work-related fatalities during this time. This article critically analyses these CMCHAct prosecutions in order to chronicle the problems of the law in action and to demonstrate how the Act serves to downplay the seriousness corporate killing. In so doing we approach law as an “active discourse” that is mutually constitutive of the broader social formation, so that it both creates but is also a product of the capitalist social order. Thus we explore the extent to which the CMCHAct ultimately privileges dominant beliefs that corporate killing is not ‘true’ crime and that corporate capitalism is an inherent good that must be defended, not disrupted.

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